Calling all British bloggers - do you let me know if these memories strike a chord with you?
There could only be one key memory of radio in my childhood- "Listen with Mother" with its phrase "Are you sitting comfortably, then I'll begin" - with 15 minutes of a story and rhyme, sitting on my mother's knee; closely followed by Saturday morning's "Children's Favourites" with Uncle Mac - singing along to such music as:
The Owl and the Pussy Cat, sung by Elton Hayes,
There was an Old Lady who swallowed a fly, and Big Rock Candy Mountain sung by Burl Ives,
The Animals went in Two by Two
Nelly the Elephant, sung by Mandy Miller (my favourite)
The Runaway Train went over the Hill
The Laughing Policeman.
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace
I remember sitting at Saturday or Sunday lunch with Family Favourites (Cliff Michelmore and Jean Metcalfe) playing requests for soldiers in BFBO (I loved the sound of reciting those initials for British Forces Stationed Abroad). Later years brought the comedy programmes such as Hancock's Half Hour and The Navy Lark. Sunday was a favourite radio night for the family with popular classics on Melodies for You, Sunday Half Hour (hymns) and 100 Best Tunes.
1953 was the year television came to our house in the shape of a small 10inch screen Bush set , so we could watch the Queen's Coronation on June 2nd. There was only one channel and broadcasts were generally just in the evening, introduced by the announcers in dinner jackets (Macdonald Hobley) and evening dress (Sylvia Peters and Mary Malcolm) - talking what seemed very pucka la-di-da accents to someone from the North of England. If we switched on too early we got the test card with the little girl with long hair in the centre. The interludes were as much a delight - the potter's wheel, or horses ploughing a field.
Children's TV seemed to centre on puppets - Muffin the Mule and Sooty (with the spin off toys as Christmas present). I must surely have been too old for Andy Pandy, and Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men, but perhaps saw them with my brother. The forerunner of family soaps The Grove Family and The Appleyards were also favourites; as were were Billy Bunter's Schooldays (I had a crush on Bob Cherry), George Cansdale from London Zoo on Looking at Animals, and Crackerjack, with its Double or Drop challenge
|Mum, Dad, Chris & myself c. 1954|
Black and White Minstrels (now very politically incorrect, but I enjoyed the music, singing and dancing)
What's My Line
Man from Uncle (David McCallum my favourite)
Gripping modern drama which seemed either to be Welsh miners trapped underground, or a plane about to crash with the crew going down with food poisoning and a passenger saving the flight.
American programmes came into vogue:
Dick van Dyke Show
Jack Benny Show
George Burns and Gracie Allan
I love Lucy
Perry Como Show
The BBC was the natural channel for current affairs and we always had the news on and special coverage to see Yuri Gargarin, the first man in space, the Amercan space launches, and ocean splash downs; major events such as royal weddings, funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, Aberfan disaster, assassination of John F. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. By the time of the first man in the moon, we set the alarm to get up during the middle of the night to see the "first step", and then dashed into the garden to look up at the moon in the sky.
Two programmes my father absolutely refused to have on were the new satirical comedy show "That was the Week that Was" and irreverent comedy Till Death Us Part - the previews were enough for him to ban them. He always had to watch Panorama - until they were showing a programme on maternity care when he suddenly decided this was not family viewing.
Pop Culture passed me by and I was never into it, though I remember 6.5 special and Top of the Pops. Of course everything I saw was in black and white, and I did not see colour TV until 1970 which I think was when it reached Scotland.
But I was enough of a TV teenage child to compile a scrapbook, with cuttings from the "Radio Times "of cast lists and photographs of my favourite actors and performers to pour over and admire!